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Kroos returns, Camavinga starts: 4-3-3 predicted Real Madrid lineup against Espanyol

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Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Three weeks into the 2022/23 La Liga season, the Santiago Bernabeu is yet to witness the defending champions in the heart of Madrid. Real Madrid have been sent on away trips for the first two games, and will now travel to Catalonia to lock horns against Espanyol tonight.

David Alaba’s individual brilliance rescued Madrid for the first game against UD Almeria, but brazed past Celta Vigo, registering a 1-4 win. Luka Modric was on top of his game, as always, registering a goal and an assist in 77 minutes.

This game, last season, ended in defeat for Los Blancos as Raul de Tomas and Aleix Vidal rippled the net. Tonight, though, things could be different. But first, let us take a look at how Carlo Ancelotti could set his team up for this outing.

Defence

Surprisingly, Thibaut Courtois had a lot more work against Almeria than Celta, making five saves. Unfortunately, his efforts in either game were not enough to register his first clean sheet of the season. Can he flip his fortunes around today?

Much of that will also rely on the centre-backs screening him. David Alaba was subbed off early last weekend, and will likely take his place alongside Eder Militao in the heart of the backline.

Flanking them, we will see Daniel Carvajal on duty again as the right-back. With Alvaro Odriozola injured, Carvajal is competing with just Lucas Vazquez for the role.

Ferland Mendy is the only natural left-back in Real Madrid’s roster for tomorrow. He did well to guard Iago Aspas in Vigo, and will have to be on top of his game against the in-form Ruben Sanchez Saez.

Midfield

We should get to see Toni Kroos back in action tomorrow, starting in his natural role, as the left-sided central midfielder. The German missed the action vs Celta due to poor health, but will be hoping to pick up where he left off after a brilliant display vs Almeria.

Luka Modric has been used sparingly by Ancelotti right now, with the Croatian registering just 120 minutes of action. Following the same pattern, we expect Eduardo Camavinga to retain his spot in the XI, this time alongside Kroos.

Aurelien Tchouameni rounds off the midfield trident as the lone 6 for the third game in a row. He adapted to Real Madrid quickly, averaging two chances created per game, along with a bucket full of defensive contributions.

Attack

Karim Benzema has set awfully high standards for himself in the last two seasons. So high that a goal and assist to start the 2022/23 season is seen as underwhelming.

To be fair, though, he has not looked as sharp in front of goal, but these troubles won’t last long enough for him, as he should get the nod as the striker tonight.

On the contary, Vinicius Jr. has picked up where he left off last season. He was on target against Celta in the second half, and soon added assisted Federico Valverde for Madrid’s fourth. He is expected to start on the left-wing.

Four-goal contributions for the star dynamic already. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Rodrygo is just returning from an injury, while Marco Asensio has a foot out of Real Madrid already. Therefore, it should give Valverde another shot at the right-wing after back-to-back solid displays.

Vinicius · Benzema · Valverde
Kroos · Tchouameni · Camavinga
Mendy · Alaba · Militao · Carvajal
Courtois

Substitutes

Rodrygo and Modric will likely be two of the first players off the bench vs Espanyol; that is, if they do not start.

Antonio Rudiger has received 110 minutes worth of playing time at Real Madrid already, and will, in all likelihood, continue in that capacity.

Vazquez and Eden Hazard are in contention to come off the bench, too. The latter missed a penalty against Celta, which does not help his confidence, but the former has been solid in both his appearances so far, scoring a goal during the opener.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid forward set for talks with Arsenal this week – report

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

With less than six months left on his contract, Marco Asensio looks to be on his way out of Real Madrid very soon. The Spaniard has not yet started talks to extend his contract with the Spanish giants, which has garnered the eyes from several top clubs across Europe.

One of the clubs interested in his signature happens to be Premier League leaders Arsenal. Mikel Arteta is said to be a fan of the player, and will try to be bring him to North London on a free transfer this summer.

According to Mirror, Asensio’s agents will fly to London this week to get an a better understanding Arsenal’s interest in the player. Talks are scheduled with Arsenal, among possibly other clubs.

Asensio’s priority remains to extend with Arsenal, but not at ‘any cost’. The winger is looking for raise with his new contract to go along with a four-year deal. The report states that he currently earns around €130,000 per week at Madrid.

The 27-year-old has been waiting for an official offer from Los Blancos for a while, but the club will wait for March or April before taking a decision on his extension.

Asensio took a while to grow important for Carlo Ancelotti this season, but has been featuring regularly on the right-wing lately. He even scored in 2-0 win against Valencia in midweek, taking his tally to two for the season, excluding three assists as well.

Arsenal are definitely looking to add more firepower to their squad for next season, having already brought in Leandro Trossard in the winter. Asensio could serve as the perfect backup to Bukayo Saka, who has been in incredible form all season.

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